Warning – long report ahead – best grab yourself a tea or coffee and make yourself comfortable!
This has been a very very long time coming.
I first heard about this event when I was running with the Nike Run Club in the city, quite a few years ago now (2013, from memory) and the leader of the group I was running with, Graham, was telling me about the Adelaide 24 hour race. Just as it sounds, it involves running for 24 hours, around the 2.2km Uni Loop, and seeing how far you can go in that time. I thought (and I told him) that this sounded incredibly boring and wondered what kind of mad person would do such a thing! Around this time I was introduced to Karen who had recently done this event. My opinion remained the same.
Skip forward a couple of years to 2015. “This looks like fun” I said. A 6 hour fundraiser run to help local runner Emma get to the 24hr world championships. My marathon training plan said to do about 30km that day, so I figured I could go along, get my 30km in and that would be it. As the morning went on, the goalposts kept shifting. 30km turned to 36km (my scheduled longest run before the marathon) and then 40, then I thought I might as well do a marathon, then I just kept going to the end of the 6 hours. From memory one of my running buddies Denis turned up after his long run, and just when I had decided I was done, he encouraged me to do one last lap with him. Garmin tells me I did 46.9km and I seem to recall there were quite a few food and drink stops in there.
I then signed up for my first 6 hour in 2015, going again in 2016 before stepping it up to the 12 hour in 2017 and 2018.
Every year, I’d enjoy what I was doing, and I’d come back on Sunday morning to see the end of the 24 hour. The first year I was like, “Nah, 24 hours, not for me” but then slowly but surely I started to seriously contemplate doing it. Especially after I’d stepped up to the 12 hour. After my first 12 hour, I thought “Yeah I’ll probably do the 24 one day, but I’m not ready yet”, especially knowing that I could improve significantly on my 12 hour. Finally, after last year’s 12 hour, I figured it was the only natural progression and I’d signed up for the 2019 24 hour as soon as entries opened!
Later this year I’m off to the USA to do both the Chicago and New York Marathons which is a pretty big deal. However, up until 10am on Sunday 14 July, the 24 hour race has been my primary focus since the beginning of the year.
I had planned to get a coach and a proper training programme when I did the 24 hour but somehow that didn’t happen. It’s really a step up from the 6 and 12 hour and while I had sort of ‘winged it’ the first time I did both the 6 and the 12, I couldn’t imagine that ‘winging it’ was a good tactic for the 24. However, knowing my penchant for signing up for events that add absolutely no value to my programme, and do not in any way contribute to my achieving my ultimate goal, I was pretty sure that no coach would approve of what I chose to do (prime examples being the Victor Harbor Triathlon and the Clare 5k race). So although I wasn’t exactly winging it, I was a little bit Hansel from Zoolander.
I ran the Track 100 back in January as part of my training programme (such that it was, with no coach and very little clue what I was doing!) and then went to Canberra to run the 12 hour event there. The Track 100 started at 7pm and I finished a little after 6am, and CBR went from midday to midnight. So I’d had a bit of practice running in the night.
I’d also done a fair bit of training on the Uni Loop, the site of the 24 hour event. Much more than I’d ever done in training for my previous runs there! I was curious to know just how much, so I added it up. Since the start of the year I had done 14 runs on the Loop, a total of 48 hours and 485km (220 laps!). That actually blew my mind a little bit when I worked it out! You could say I knew every damn piece of gravel and every speed bump/hill/mountain (depending on how many laps I’d done) in either direction!
My last training run on the loop was originally going to be a 12 hour overnight run, which gradually became shorter and shorter and eventually turned into a bit under 5 hours, 4 weeks out, which was my first time running the loop at night. Although I knew it exceptionally well in the daytime, I had heard stories of people getting lost on it at night (possibly delirious!) I was pleased to find out that, although there are a few little dark patches, it is exceptionally well lit and I wouldn’t need to run with a head torch!
May and June were pretty big months for me distance-wise, in fact my 2 biggest months ever. I had run 374km in May and then backed that up with 415km in June. Compare that to my weekly average over the last 12 months of just 57km, it’s quite a big jump!
A few weeks out from the event, I put the call out on the trusty Facebook asking for advice from people who had done the event (or similar) before. The most common piece of advice that came through again and again was to keep warm, especially overnight! This was something I hadn’t really had to deal with before – I’d always been able to get away with shorts/skirt (even in the hail in 2015!), and even on the overnight track races getting cold wasn’t exactly an issue (last year the temperature didn’t drop below 32 celsius!). The only time I had really had to deal with potentially getting cold overnight was in my last UTA when I ran in my fleece top for quite a while (but still in shorts) and in Canberra when I walked the last 4 hours (that time, I had changed into a hoodie and tracky dacks!)
2 weeks out from the event I was running with club coach Kent and we were discussing the merits of caffeine during an event. He said he’s not a coffee drinker so he finds caffeine very effective. Meanwhile, me over here, 3+ cups a day – possibly less effective! He suggested going off coffee for a week prior to the event. I thought that was a great idea so after my Friday post-run coffee a week out, it was decaf all the way! (I thought it was a great idea until I actually had to do it! But it would be worth it in the end, I told myself!)
Regular running buddy (and previous 24 hour runner) Michael had very kindly offered to lend me his van as a base during the event. That would mean I didn’t need to worry about setting up a gazebo/tent, and the bonus was that if I needed to have a power nap (I wasn’t planning to) I had an actual bed to stretch out on! And assuming that I wasn’t going to need it, my supporters Kate and Tracey would be able to have a nap in there! I could literally just rock up on the morning with all my stuff, put the stuff in the van, and away I would go! Simples!
I caught up with Kate and Tracey, both veterans of the 24 hour, for lunch on the Sunday before the event where we discussed logistics, and the kinds of things I might need her to do (ie make some sandwiches and mix up some more Gatorade) and she offered to go and get me coffee and donuts if I wanted! I picked both of their brains for advice but they both jokingly said they were probably not the best people to ask for advice on how to run a 24 hour, unless it was what NOT to do! (To be fair, both of them have completed at least one 100 miler!)
In the week leading up to the event I did very little running. The plan was a normal run on Tuesday, walk on Thursday, and nothing on Friday. I hadn’t run on the Loop (other than just passing through during a run) for 4 weeks so I was ready to face it again!
My ‘goal’ was to get to 100 miles (160.934km) which I think is a pretty common goal in a 24 hour. Looking back at the results from 2014-2018, 100 miles would be a guaranteed podium finish – however you never know who’s going to turn up on the day so let’s not think about podium finishes just yet! As is usually the case in these types of events, I would only be able to run my own race, couldn’t let myself get distracted by what other people were and weren’t doing, and the rest of it would take care of itself! (And if I had to do a sprint finish at the end of 24 hours for a placing, well let’s hope I’d be able to do that!)
I had been advised several times not to set a distance goal, because once I got there, I would not want to keep going! I seem to recall I set a goal of 50km in my first 6 hours and managed to get over 60, so it wouldn’t hurt to have something in the back of my mind, but I needed to be thinking “I’m going to run for 24 hours” rather than “I’m aiming for 100 miles”. Based on my 12 hour distances, on paper 100 miles looks very doable. But you never know what’s going to happen when our friend Fatigue pays a visit!
On Friday I took the day off and got myself a massage to loosen up the legs (turns out my quads and calves are very tight and massage therapist Amanda SO would have loved to go in with her elbows but knowing what was coming the next day, she took it easy on me! It really helped though!
There was a LOT of prep to do! I had a box of food, an esky of drinks, a bag of clothes for during the run, another bag of clothes for after, a bag of miscellaneous stuff for during, a chair, table, blanket, sleeping bag and pillow! Food-wise I made 8 sandwiches (4 peanut butter and 4 Mayver’s cacao spread) and I also had a bunch of Clif bars, Snackaballs, protein bars, Lemon Crisp biscuits, and salted chocolate! I wanted to have a variety of different flavours.
As per usual I didn’t look at the start list before the event (only to make sure my name was on it) because I prefer not to know – I can only do my own thing, and knowing who else is going to be out there shouldn’t change that! I knew Vicky was doing it, and I knew she’d been training and running really well, so I definitely saw her as a serious threat! Other than her, I didn’t know of any other big names on the female side, but this event always attracts good interstate runners so there were bound to be some!
My pre-race dinner broke with tradition, only because Friday night happened to be the annual Long Service dinner at my work, and I’d recently clocked up 20 years. I normally would have a big bowl of pasta, but I didn’t want to miss the dinner, so I put in a request for a vegan meal, and somewhat cheekily (assuming I’d be the only vegan there) asked for something with lots of carbs! It was an enjoyable night but I did feel like I needed a few extra carbs afterwards so on the way home I popped into the Bakery on O’Connell for a donut, planning to eat half and save the other half for the next day. Needless to say the second half did not survive the journey home!
I set my alarm for 7:30am, and had a quick look at the progress results for the 6 hour and the 12 hour. It was so weird to wake up knowing that the event was already happening!
I arrived at the Uni Loop just before 9am, and Michael arrived not long after me with the van. Given that the 6 and 12 hour runners were already out there, we both had to park a fair way away from the timing area, however we would be able to move the van closer once the 6 hour event was done and dusted.
He had thought of everything – in the van was a fully equipped bed, torch, all of the wet weather gear, spare beanies and a very warm hi-viz jacket. This was a man who knew what this event was all about!
Another 24 hour runner, Jac, arrived at around the same time as me. I don’t think she’d done the 24 before but she had done the 48 hour last year. Definitely another contender!
I collected my bib and attached my timing tag to my ankle. I did it up too tight. I realised this a few hours in, at which point I loosened it, but the damage had already been done…
The original plan was to use the van as the base and leave everything in there, however when Kate arrived we decided to have the food and drinks, a table and chair out in the NRG (Northern Running Group) tent, which was very conveniently located near the aid station, timing area and portaloos. I decided to leave my clothes in the van, because the last thing I wanted was for them to get wet should it rain! (And of course it was going to rain!)
With former 24 hour winner Barry, Kate, and fellow debutant Vicky!
Just before 10am we all gathered at the start line for the briefing by Race Director Ben. Not much different from my previous years running the 6 and 12 hour events, except he did make it clear that we could have ‘buddy’ runners to run occasional laps with us after the 12 hour race finished at 6pm as long as they stayed on the grass and not on the track itself. In previous years ‘buddy’ runners had been allowed on the track but the rules had been tightened up this year.
📷 Lachlan Miller
And away we went!
And about half a lap in, the rain started! GREAT, I had left my rain jacket in the tent. My rainbow arm warmers were wet by the time I got back there at the end of the lap, so I took them off and hung them up to dry, and quickly grabbed my rain jacket which would see quite a lot of action over the next 24 hours!
📷 Lachlan Miller
I used the same strategy I’d previously used in the 12 hour and 100km track events – run 25 mins and walk/eat for 5. Only differences were, the running would be a bit slower, and there would be sit down rest breaks. I had a vague aim of getting to 90km at the halfway mark, assuming I’d slow down in the second half and 70km in 12 hours is very doable, just over 10 minutes per km, actually walkable! However, I didn’t set any other goals or have a pace in mind. It was all very much by feel.
📷 David Fielding Photography – twinning with Ryan who was doing the 6 hour! A rare moment of sunshine!
The first milestone was the finish of the 6 hour at midday. With 45 runners in the 6 hour event, this would significantly reduce the number of runners on the track. I reckon between 10am and midday there were more runners on the track simultaneously than there had ever been before!
Early pic from Chantel while the sun was out, with Rhys.
I wasn’t really keeping track of distance, and the only reason I was looking at my watch was to know when my walk breaks were. I remember in previous years I’d make a note of where I was at after each hour, but I couldn’t be bothered doing that this time! According to the post on the Ultra Runners SA Facebook page with the 6 hour results, I was on 45.5km after 5 hours, 2.5km behind the leader, Sabina. I might have had an idea of the distance but I definitely had no idea what place I was in, and who was leading. It’s pretty pointless knowing that at such an early stage, so much can change in such a long event! Jac and Vicky were both looking super strong and could easily have been ahead of me too as far as I knew. That’s the beauty of these loop events!
📷 Lachlan Miller
Another great thing about this event is the camaraderie. I got to spend time with a whole lot of fantastic people, friends old and new. You’d run with someone for a few laps, then you might not see them for a few hours, and then there they were again. I shared laps with Glen (aiming to do the equivalent of 3 marathons, as part of a very admirable goal of running 65 marathons in a year, the final one to coincide with his 65th birthday), Ian (aiming for a PB, a legend of the SA marathon and ultramarathon scene and all round good guy!), Adam (originally from SA but now living in Canada) and Annabel (Australian ultra running legend who was not enjoying our ‘balmy’ Adelaide weather!). Stephan was another one I ran into regularly, he was using the 24 hour purely as a training run for the upcoming 6 day event. People have asked me if I’ll do the 6 day. The answer is 100% no, especially when I looked at the dates and realised I will be in San Francisco when it finishes! No, definitely not my thing. Huge admiration for those who can back up day after day like that!
One of the great stories from this event was Rhys from Melbourne. A few days before the event, Ben posted on the Facebook page that there was only one place available in the 24 hour race. A sellout, that had never happened before! Who knew there were so many crazy people out there? My crew, Tracey and Kate, both joked about taking the last place, but in the end it was Rhys who made the last minute decision to come over for the event! All of 19 years old, he had never run more than 50km before! We had some great chats during the course of the day and night, he has got some big goals and I wish him all the best! In the end it wasn’t to be his day, he didn’t quite make it to 100km but still a huge distance PB!
📷 David Fielding Photography
And of course it wouldn’t be the Adelaide 24 hour without Merle and Trish, always cheerful and happy for a chat! And Merle was hard to miss in the dark with her head lamp with the red light on the back!
Speaking of head lamps, I opted not to use mine (I’d brought it along just in case) but there were times when I wished I had worn it – the rain we’d had over the past few days had left a few significant puddles on the loop, mostly in the aforementioned dark patches, and it seemed like I managed to step in all of them!
Backtracking a little, back to when it was still daytime! I ran half a lap with Amelia, eventual winner of the 12 hour (that half lap nearly killed me!) who had been planning to do the event anyway but fortunately it also coincided with her being in Adelaide for work for a week! Apparently I said something to her about her doing the 24 hour – I can’t remember exactly what I said – Amelia perhaps you can enlighten me? (Actually, if you’d like to do the 24 next year that would be great, give me a fighting chance in the 12 hour!)
Also back again for the 12 hour was Kay, who last year had wanted to get 56km and ended up getting 60 before stopping. This year she went the full 12 hours and got 87km – a huge PB – and also got 4th place and narrowly missed a podium finish! Well done Kay!
The 12 hour event finished at 6pm, as the smallest group of the 3 events, it didn’t make a huge difference to the numbers out on track. It was an ideal time to stop, regroup and re-evaluate. 8 hours down, 16 to go!
I think this was the longest break I took over the 24 hours, about 10 minutes. I did a wardrobe change, knowing that keeping warm was one of the most important things to do in the 24 hour! I changed from my T-shirt and skirt into leggings, and 2 long sleeved lululemon tops – the thin Run Swiftly underneath the thicker and warmer Runderful which I’d only just purchased for this very event, and which proved to be just perfect! (The zip pocket was also handy for snacks!)
I also changed socks – I had a few spare pairs of socks so I decided to change every 8 hours. Nothing like a fresh pair of socks after running for 8 hours! Didn’t stop the blisters though (I was glad it was dark in the tent when I changed socks – I didn’t really want to see what my feet looked like!)
At the halfway mark I was on just over 101km – just 1km short of my 12 hour total from 2017. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was still in 2nd place, 6km behind Sabina. The men were clocking up some incredible distances – at the same time I’d just ticked over 100km, Matt (who never changed out of his singlet all night!) was on 143km and 2nd placed Kay was on 129!
It was time to re-evaluate my goal. With 60km to go and 12 hours to do it, unless I took an extended break, 100 miles was a no-brainer. I told Kate, on our first lap together, that I was re-evaluating my 100 miler goal. I said my new goal was 170km.
Before the race, I had ‘secretly’ set 170km as my ‘pie in the sky’ goal to keep myself motivated in the unlikely event that I reached 100 miles with time in the bank. Now, it had become a reality!
I had been told that the ‘witching hours’ between 2 and 4am would be the hardest, and also that once we hit 6am and it started to get light, everything would be all OK again!
Kate was off to Melbourne on Sunday to meet up with her girls who had gone over for a dance competition, so she had told me prior to the event that she was going to need to have a few hours sleep. No problems as far as I was concerned – she had put my food out on the table and made sure there was plenty of Gatorade there for me, and then disappeared to the van for a few hours! Between her and Tracey I always had everything I needed, for a while there I wondered where they were as I went past the tent, turned out for a lot of the time they were either running laps with Vicky, or sitting in Vicky’s tent next door to the NRG tent, because they had a heater! (Actually quite glad I didn’t have a heater, might have been too tempting to sit down for an extended break! Great for the crew though!)
I had brought 3 mobile chargers with the idea that I would keep my watch running for the full 24 hours. The battery life on my watch is meant to be 14 hours (I later found out that heart rate recording reduces the battery life significantly) so I was surprised when, just after 9 and a half hours, the watch died without warning, and just after I’d started a lap, too! My parents had come down on their way to dinner, I’d just had a 5 minute walk break not long ago but I figured an extra 5 min walk wouldn’t hurt, so Mum came and walked for 5 minutes with me, and that was when it happened. I was very annoyed, I was looking forward to having a 100+ mile run on Strava, as it is unlikely to happen again!
As soon as I got back to the tent, I got one of my chargers, plugged the watch in and kept moving. The watch turned on straight away when I plugged it in, so I started the GPS mode again. However, after only a few minutes, it died again (turns out you can’t record an activity when there is no charge in the battery, even if it’s plugged in) so I lost another lap! Finally, when I got back to the tent again, I went with plan B which was to carry my phone and record directly on Strava, while leaving my watch on charge at the tent. Thanks to Kate for keeping an eye on it, and also to Linna next door who has the same watch and helped Kate to make sure that it was charging properly!
For a couple of hours I let the watch charge and ran with my phone, it was a bit annoying to have to keep looking at the phone to see what time it was, but at least my run was recording and surprisingly it did not drain my phone battery that much in the 2 hours before I went back to my (now fully charged) watch!
I think it was probably around 8pm (10 hours in) when I started listening to music for the first time. Up until then, there had been enough going on with the 6 and 12 hour runners out on the track. I was glad I’d been able to get that far without music – I like to use it sparingly rather than relying on it all the time. I used my iPod shuffle (the waterproof one I bought for swimming, because I find lap swimming intolerably boring!) so it was a nice mix of upbeat music. I’d also downloaded some podcasts onto my other iPod. Normally I just listen to music, and occasionally on a weekend training run I’ll listen to sport on the radio. I once tried listening to a Dr Karl podcast while running along the coast, but it was so windy that I was struggling to hear it over the sound of the wind, so I gave up after that!
From 8pm onwards, I stopped every 2 hours for a 5 minute sit down and recharge the batteries (my batteries this time, not the watch!). That worked out well with my caffeine ‘schedule’ where I would have something with caffeine every 2 hours – mostly that would be a shot of cold brew coffee, but from 8pm I started on something that Kate and Tracey had put me onto, Panadol Extra, with caffeine – which worked a treat! I ended up using it at 8, midnight and 4am.
A little later in the night I decided to switch things up and change from music to podcast. I started with a few Hamish and Andy podcasts which resulted in a few LOLs!
I kept my 25/5 strategy going until 3am (17 hours) when I decided to change to 15/5. The idea was that it would be easy to keep track of where I was at (20 minute chunks was easy on the brain!) and that I would never walk more than 5 minutes at a time. There might be a point (like at Canberra) where I made the call that I was going to walk it in from here, but until that happened, I would not walk more than 5 minutes.
Somewhere around this time I met up with Annabel, and commented on her super efficient and fast walking! That was when she told me she wasn’t enjoying the cold weather. I didn’t actually think it was that bad (I’m sure the overnight weather conditions this year were better than what we typically get) but she is from Sydney and having lived there myself, I can definitely agree their winters are a lot milder than ours!
I think this was when she put the idea of 180km in my head. 100 miles was practically in the bank, 170km was firmly in my mind as my goal, and then – 180km? Dare I even dream?
Someone who is a fixture at this event is David. He does incredibly well on these loop events (I’d run with him this year at the SA Track Championships, and he had been doing the 48 hour at Canberra and also the coastalfunruns
marathon back in June). He just goes and goes. He commented to me at one stage, that I was ahead of him (I think he was a bit surprised!) I was surprised too, but it wasn’t the first or last time I’d be surprised in this event!
The 15/5 strategy lasted for 2 hours. At 5am I dropped it back further, to 10/5. The 100 miler was imminent – I made the decision that once I reached the magical miler, I would walk. My legs still felt really good but my feet were burning and blistered. My running pace had slowed to the point where walking would not actually be that much slower. It was an easy decision!
Unfortunately due to the f***-up with my watch, I had to look at the screen at the timing area to know what distance I’d done. I was able to keep track of time still for my run/walk using the clock on my watch or phone, but the distance showing on my watch was meaningless.
I knew 100 miles was getting close, I think Kate was still asleep in the van and I wasn’t sure where Tracey was (Vicky had stopped by this time due to a leg injury – she’d done 127.6km and finished around 4:30am so I think she would have got the miler had she been able to keep going). I stopped at the aid station quite regularly through the night – it was nice to have some variety in my food, as much as I like my peanut butter sandwiches! I came up with the idea of taking one of my sandwiches and putting potato chips in it – yum! I got stuck into the chips pretty much every lap after that! I also started drinking Coke after about 13 hours and that went down a treat!
By this time I had changed from listening to H & A to a podcast Michael had put me on to, ‘Your Favorite Band Sucks’ – the Bon Jovi edition. Definitely recommend this podcast, it is pretty brutal but equally hilarious!
Anyway, as I was getting my Coke, I told the volunteers there (Debbie, Dione, Craig, Mandi and I think Cherie – apologies if I’ve forgotten anyone!) that I thought I was getting close to the miler. I knew where the marker was, having seen it on my previous lap. It wasn’t far from the aid station. The only thing I wasn’t sure of, was whether I would get there before or after the 6am turnaround. Craig checked on his phone and said I was on 160 point something so yes, that meant I was about to reach that magical milestone! Mandi went and checked the screen to confirm it. (The screen was visible to runners, however it was only useful when we were running in an anticlockwise direction – when running clockwise, we passed the screen BEFORE crossing the mat, and our name only appeared at the top of the screen when we crossed the mat). Debbie (as always, dressed to entertain, this time in a unicorn onesie – warm AND colourful!) offered to come with me and take a photo to mark the occasion! (Debbie also posted the pics on Facebook, and as I came past each lap, she would read me the comments people had posted – that was so nice to hear, thanks Debbie and also everyone who commented!)
From then on, it was walking all the way. If Canberra was anything to go by, I could do another 25km (although, the gravel surface of the Uni Loop was somewhat less forgiving than the athletic track in Canberra – every now and then I’d step on a bit of gravel the wrong way and I could swear it went straight through the sole of my shoe and into my foot!) which meant 180+ was definitely in my sights!
I figured it was time to go back to music, and I started with my favourite ‘go-to’ album, Def Leppard’s ‘Adrenalize’. Actually I thought I could probably listen to their music for the full 4 hours, but I didn’t even get through the one album, because as 7am approached, the 24 hour runners tended to liven up a bit and more people started coming out to watch/support, so there wasn’t actually that much time to listen to music!
There weren’t too many people still running by this stage, other than the 3 leading men, Matt, Kay and Darren (although I did see Darren walking at one stage, possibly eating noodles at the time – probably a good thing he was walking!)
6am, 20 hours down, 4 to go, and I’d already achieved my goal. I understood now why setting a distance goal could be problematic!
This was familiar territory to me. I am very used to running at 6am. Not so used to running at 6am after running for 20 hours with no sleep!
SARRC, the club with which I do the aforementioned 6am runs, has 2 running groups on a Sunday morning, at 7am and 7:30am, starting at the clubrooms on the Uni Loop. So there was something to look forward to – a few friendly faces heading out on their morning run! It was great to see so many familiar faces!
Around this time, David caught up with me again and said we were dead level. I said, you’ve got me then, because I’m only walking now. He congratulated me on a great debut 24 hour event – 180km was a great distance, he said it had taken him a while to get to that!
A few others came out in the later stages of the race too – Beck came along with her daughter Alice to run a few laps (and walk one with me!) and Chantel came and walked with me for a bit too, and took some photos.
📷 Blinkz Photography Australia – with Chantel. For more pics from the last hour, see https://www.facebook.com/296866950715728/posts/751777915224627/
Unfortunately the weather wasn’t super kind – the BOM had forecast rain in the afternoon which would have been fine, but it rained (not heavily, but solidly) for the last few hours. I guess it wouldn’t be an Adelaide 24 hour event without rain! Still, it could have been a lot worse!
Mum and Dad came down again, and Mum walked a few laps with me.
Around 9am my friend Tracie came down to take some photos. She is doing a photography project about ‘Emotions’ and was looking for subject matter. I suggested the last hour of the 24 hour race would be a good place to capture a few emotions! She got some really great shots! For the full gallery, see https://www.facebook.com/296866950715728/posts/751736968562055/
📷 Blinkz Photography Australia. With Kate, Tracey, Chantel and Mum.
Somewhere around this time I cracked the 180km barrier. Never in a million years would I have dreamed of a number like that – and still an hour to go!
Not long before the end, Tracie told me that she thought I was in 1st place – she said I’d passed Sabina! (At that stage, I didn’t know that I was in 2nd or that Sabina was 1st) I couldn’t quite believe that! But then, 180km was more than the winner did last year, so I guess it was possible! (She was a bit confused though because there was someone called Kay on the list who was ahead of me but I was first female – turned out Kay is actually a guy, pronounced ‘Ky’)
I’d told Kate and Tracey I didn’t want to know where I was placed, because I wouldn’t be able to do anything about it, especially once I’d made the decision to stop running and walk it in. However, as we headed out for the last lap, Kate asked me if I wanted to know, and she confirmed that yes I was indeed first. And by quite a margin too, she said!
And then, that magical moment – getting my ‘sandbag’ with my number on it, which I would drop when the hooter went off at 10am. I’d seen the 6 and 12 hour runners collect theirs and thought my turn would never come! Chantel, Mum, Kate and Tracey joined me for the last lap. They suggested that I might even get another full lap in – I never thought that would happen, although we did get quite close (Mum was setting a cracking pace).
And then – the hooter went, I dropped my bag, and it was over!
Amazingly, everything felt pretty good, except my feet. I put it down to a few things – the massage on Friday, the slower pace, and the flat track. After the Tower Trail Marathon 3 weeks ago I couldn’t really run properly (and walking wasn’t all that easy either) for a good few days, but after this one, sure the legs were a bit stiff but nothing I hadn’t experienced before! If not for the feet, I might have even been able to go out for a sneaky jog on Monday!
Thanks Gary for this pic, with Mum and Dad.
After celebrating briefly with friends and family, I headed back to the van to get changed into warm clothes. I got a bit light headed after I’d been sitting for a bit, probably not surprising after going 24 hours with minimal stopping and no sleep. Susan from First In Sport First Aid came to check up on me, my blood pressure and heart rate were fine but my blood sugar was a bit low, which was easily fixed with some Coke! Kate had got me some hash browns which also went down a treat!
I laid down on the bed for a few minutes while awaiting the presentation. Luckily it stopped raining in time!
The 24 hour perpetual trophy is named after (and endorsed by) ultra running legend Yiannis Kouros, who still holds the world record for a 24 hour track race, a phenomenal 303.5km, set right here in Adelaide in 1997. He is one of the few ultra runners that I’d heard of long before I even considered taking up running (I remembered him from the old Sydney to Melbourne ultramarathon days back in the ’80s!) When this trophy was first introduced in this event a few years back, I never in a million years would have imagined that one day MY name would be on it! And yet, here I was!
📷 Blinkz Photography Australia. With overall winner Matt who clocked up almost 253km!
As I write this, it is now Tuesday morning and I am amazed at how good my legs feel! I managed a short recovery walk today – hampered only by blisters on my feet, which should heal pretty quickly!
So, what next? My next scheduled event is the half marathon at the Barossa Marathon, I won’t be setting any time goals for that one (at least that’s what I’m saying now!) – I’m treating it purely as a training run for the Chicago Marathon.
And now for the thanks!
Firstly, thanks to every single one of the runners out there in the 6, 12 and particularly the 24 hour event for making it actually kind of fun! It’s hard to believe if you’ve never done something like this before, but I never once got bored running round in circles (OK sure the direction changes helped!) because of all the encouragement and chats with the other runners. You are all awesome!
Thanks to Graham for planting the seed by telling me about this event in the first place (even though I thought you were insane at the time) – great to see you out there albeit briefly this time around!
Thanks to Emma for really properly introducing me to this type of event! It’s an honour to have my name on the Kouros Trophy along with yours!
Thanks to Amanda (Glide Massage) for freshening my legs up on Friday! I will be back!
Thanks to the spectators who came out to watch, particularly in the later stages, it was great to see such a big crowd at the finish, despite the weather!
Thanks to those who were crewing for other runners, who never failed to give encouragement to me as I went past!
Thanks to Tracie for coming down and taking some great pics, hopefully I gave you what you needed for your project!
Thanks to Chantel for coming down on Saturday and Sunday, for some fantastic photos also, and for sharing a few laps with me!
Thanks to ALL of the volunteers, particularly those who were out during the ‘Witching Hour’, you must have been very cold and tired and everything you did was appreciated! But anyone who volunteered in any small way, I can’t thank you enough. (Special kudos also to those who did the measuring of the part laps, particularly the 12 hour which was done in the dark, and the 24 hour which was done in the rain!)
Thanks to my crew, Kate and Tracey, for ensuring that I could keep rolling on and making sure I always had everything I needed – and for joining me for the occasional lap too! Legends the both of you!
Thanks to Susan and her crew for always looking after us! Susan, be thankful you didn’t have to deal with my feet!
Thanks to Michael for supplying the van, a whole lot of extra gear I hadn’t even thought I might need! And for helping me get my shoes off afterwards and guarding the door while I got changed – your help really made a huge difference (and I know Kate appreciated the van too – although I hear she had some trouble getting out of it!)
Thanks to Mum and Dad for coming down to see me on Saturday night and again on Sunday morning, and for driving me home afterwards and helping me with getting the gear into my car and then back out again, and basically for everything really!
And I think that sums it up, epic report from an epic event!
Oops I almost forgot. One last one. Thanks to Ben for putting this event on every year, for without you none of this would have happened! Every event, every year I go on and on about how I don’t know how you do it and how you ever find time to spend with your wife and 2 (soon to be 3) kids, and yet you do. Event after event. You are truly Superman!
OK, I think that’s it. I’m out. See you at Barossa!